The Chicago Fire have never beaten the Seattle Sounders. Barring a U.S. Open Cup or MLS Cup match-up, they’ll have to wait until at least 2015.
Things looked bleak for the crowd of 16,416 at Toyota Park after Seattle forward Obafemi Martins scored a brace in the first-half. Martins had started the scoring in the 31st minute and scored on a penalty in the 38th minute after Fire defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown a second yellow – and a red – card. Hurtado had played previously for the Sounders before an offseason trade sent him and fellow defender Patrick Ianni to the Fire for defender Jalil Anibaba.
Fire midfielder Harrison Shipp got the Fire back into the match with a 41st minute strike, cutting the Sounders’ lead to 2-1. Scoring just minutes before half-time was a much needed boost to the ninth place team. The Fire would get an extra boost when Martins was sent off in the 42nd minute with a red card for fighting.
The Sounders maintained a slight edge in possession, finishing the game with 51.8% of it, and the second half would see goals scored from both sides. Sounders forward Kenny Cooper and former Fire midfielder Marco Pappa were credited with assists as midfielder Lamar Neagle extended the Sounders’ lead back to two goals in the 78th minute.
Four minutes later, Shipp added his second goal of the match to get the home side back within a goal. Ultimately, the Fire were unable to pull out a point, and remain in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
Shipp’s pair of goals marked the fourth and fifth times a homegrown player has scored for the Fire. Shipp also scored the first three with a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls May 10 at Red Bull Arena.
D.C. United and the Columbus Crew played to a scoreless draw Saturday, leaving the Fire four points out of a playoff spot.
The Fire return to league action July 2 at home against Toronto FC. The team will host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Toyota Park June 18 in a U.S. Open Cup match.